Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Kami-Con impresses special guests


On Saturday afternoon at the Ferguson Center, just across the concourse from Starbucks, an area shrouded with black curtains was set aside for voice actor Vic Mignogna to sign autographs. A line of visitors, many of whom dressed in vibrant costumes, stretched from the curtained area past the art gallery to the stairway at the opposite end of the Ferguson Center.

They knew Mignogna for his work in several English dubs of anime, including Dragon Ball Z, Ouran High School Host Club and, most famously, his role as Edward Elric, protagonist of the popular “Fullmetal Alchemist.” The fans waited patiently, though he had not yet left his question and answer panel on the third floor.

It was far from Mignogna’s first time dealing with a Japanese anime convention crowd. However, it was his first time at Kami-Con, the University of Alabama’s anime convention.

Mignogna said Kami-Con impressed him, especially given that it is only in its second year.

“I understand they more than tripled their attendance from last year, and they handled it really well,” Mignogna said. “A lot of cons just kind of buckle under that kind of expansion. But they were ready for it, and everything has just gone really great.”

He also said he was grateful for the attention and honored to be able to do something he and his fans enjoy.

“I try to remind myself this could all go away tomorrow,” Mignogna said. “Whether there are 10 people in line or 300 people in line, I try to make sure everyone gets the same interaction.”

Another popular guest at Kami-Con was Martin Billany, known on YouTube as LittleKuriboh, the creator of the gag dub series “Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series.” Together, Bellamy and Mignogna promoted Kami-Con in a video with more than 233,546 views, contributing to Kami-Con’s increased attendance. Bellamy said he hadn’t planned on “Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series” becoming as popular as it has; rather, he did it out of love for the original “Yu-Gi-Oh!” television series.

“Before I did Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged, I did five different webcomics, and all of them were terrible,” he said. “Then I just decided randomly that I wanted to be in the Yu-Gi-Oh fandom, and I made some videos.”

The third guest voice actor at Kami-Con was Robert Axelrod, best known for providing the voice of Lord Zedd in the second season of “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.” Like its costumes, robots and battle sequences, the first season’s villain, Rita Repulsa, came from stock footage of a Japanese show called “Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger.” Axelrod said Lord Zedd was created to make footage original to the American version when it became impractical to dub in an English voice for Rita.

“Rita was a very difficult character in Japanese to dub English into, because she spoke all her lines very stylized,” Axelrod said. “So thus, Lord Zedd was invented. They wanted to transition the show to more original footage in anyway.”

Axelrod said his question and answer panel was well attended, and he received a fan-made “Yu-Gi-Oh!” card of himself and Lord Zedd, as well as a pencil sketch of Lord Zedd.

“It’s always fun when I get something like that,” Axelrod said. “It’s very organized, and the fans are very good here. I had another good experience with a con at a university, at Genericon in Troy, New York. Something about it being a school makes it really spiritual.”

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